'V1' Scissors - 14/15

2016

  • Shape - craft
  • Blade material BS EN10083 C50E
more...

At the end of 2015, when I was down at Ernest Wright & Son (Sheffield), talking to the scissor makers and picking their brains, I came across a small number of obsolete vintage scissor blanks. Not enough to justify them setting up to make them, I took some to play with. People have been asking for me to make more general purpose scissors and by starting with the rough blanks, I have been able to rescue some abandoned Sheffield heritage and produce 'working' scissors rather than fancy exhibition pieces.

One of the aspects of the project was to see how differently the pieces could be from the same initial shape. The way that the flat profile is shaped can dramatically change the feel of the finished piece. It is easy to see in Victorian catalogues that variations at this stage were used to create an entire range, from basic working pieces to highly carved ornate ones – all filed and ground from the same blank shape. I do most of this work with files. I like being able to take my time and see the shape develop under my fingers. It gives me time to assess the work and change it as it is needed.

There are four main area that have variations; the blade profile (flat, dagger, round) the pivot area (straight, waisted), the shank shape (thigh, bandy) and the interaction between the shanks and the bows (blended, dramatic).

Each pair is numbered in the 'under' between the blades. “matching marks (symbols or numbers) are sometimes seen near the pivot area inside both blades. In Sheffield, these were hardened and ground together. In some cases these marks indicated that the two blades were forged together from the same piece of steel to ensure that both were of the same hardness. This coding enabled them to be matched together after they were tempered, ground and polished. If one blade was even slightly harder than the other, it would wear down and blunt the softer blade.” The Cutting Edge – Antique Scissors, Carolyn Meacham 2006

These days, with increased control over the alloy content of steel and the precisely controlled industrial heat treatment of the parts, this matching isn't the issue that it once was. Obviously, given the complexity of having every item in batch being different, numbering the halves was vital in this project.

'V1' Scissors - 6/15

2016

  • Shape - craft
  • Blade material BS EN10083 C50E
more...

At the end of 2015, when I was down at Ernest Wright & Son (Sheffield), talking to the scissor makers and picking their brains, I came across a small number of obsolete vintage scissor blanks. Not enough to justify them setting up to make them, I took some to play with. People have been asking for me to make more general purpose scissors and by starting with the rough blanks, I have been able to rescue some abandoned Sheffield heritage and produce 'working' scissors rather than fancy exhibition pieces.

One of the aspects of the project was to see how differently the pieces could be from the same initial shape. The way that the flat profile is shaped can dramatically change the feel of the finished piece. It is easy to see in Victorian catalogues that variations at this stage were used to create an entire range, from basic working pieces to highly carved ornate ones – all filed and ground from the same blank shape. I do most of this work with files. I like being able to take my time and see the shape develop under my fingers. It gives me time to assess the work and change it as it is needed.

There are four main area that have variations; the blade profile (flat, dagger, round) the pivot area (straight, waisted), the shank shape (thigh, bandy) and the interaction between the shanks and the bows (blended, dramatic).

Each pair is numbered in the 'under' between the blades. “matching marks (symbols or numbers) are sometimes seen near the pivot area inside both blades. In Sheffield, these were hardened and ground together. In some cases these marks indicated that the two blades were forged together from the same piece of steel to ensure that both were of the same hardness. This coding enabled them to be matched together after they were tempered, ground and polished. If one blade was even slightly harder than the other, it would wear down and blunt the softer blade.” The Cutting Edge – Antique Scissors, Carolyn Meacham 2006

These days, with increased control over the alloy content of steel and the precisely controlled industrial heat treatment of the parts, this matching isn't the issue that it once was. Obviously, given the complexity of having every item in batch being different, numbering the halves was vital in this project.

'V1' Scissors -10/15

2016

  • Shape - craft
  • Blade material BS EN10083 C50E
more...

At the end of 2015, when I was down at Ernest Wright & Son (Sheffield), talking to the scissor makers and picking their brains, I came across a small number of obsolete vintage scissor blanks. Not enough to justify them setting up to make them, I took some to play with. People have been asking for me to make more general purpose scissors and by starting with the rough blanks, I have been able to rescue some abandoned Sheffield heritage and produce 'working' scissors rather than fancy exhibition pieces.

One of the aspects of the project was to see how differently the pieces could be from the same initial shape. The way that the flat profile is shaped can dramatically change the feel of the finished piece. It is easy to see in Victorian catalogues that variations at this stage were used to create an entire range, from basic working pieces to highly carved ornate ones – all filed and ground from the same blank shape. I do most of this work with files. I like being able to take my time and see the shape develop under my fingers. It gives me time to assess the work and change it as it is needed.

There are four main area that have variations; the blade profile (flat, dagger, round) the pivot area (straight, waisted), the shank shape (thigh, bandy) and the interaction between the shanks and the bows (blended, dramatic).

Each pair is numbered in the 'under' between the blades. “matching marks (symbols or numbers) are sometimes seen near the pivot area inside both blades. In Sheffield, these were hardened and ground together. In some cases these marks indicated that the two blades were forged together from the same piece of steel to ensure that both were of the same hardness. This coding enabled them to be matched together after they were tempered, ground and polished. If one blade was even slightly harder than the other, it would wear down and blunt the softer blade.” The Cutting Edge – Antique Scissors, Carolyn Meacham 2006

These days, with increased control over the alloy content of steel and the precisely controlled industrial heat treatment of the parts, this matching isn't the issue that it once was. Obviously, given the complexity of having every item in batch being different, numbering the halves was vital in this project.

'V1' Scissors - 8/15

2016

  • Shape - craft
  • Blade material BS EN10083 C50E
more...

At the end of 2015, when I was down at Ernest Wright & Son (Sheffield), talking to the scissor makers and picking their brains, I came across a small number of obsolete vintage scissor blanks. Not enough to justify them setting up to make them, I took some to play with. People have been asking for me to make more general purpose scissors and by starting with the rough blanks, I have been able to rescue some abandoned Sheffield heritage and produce 'working' scissors rather than fancy exhibition pieces.

One of the aspects of the project was to see how differently the pieces could be from the same initial shape. The way that the flat profile is shaped can dramatically change the feel of the finished piece. It is easy to see in Victorian catalogues that variations at this stage were used to create an entire range, from basic working pieces to highly carved ornate ones – all filed and ground from the same blank shape. I do most of this work with files. I like being able to take my time and see the shape develop under my fingers. It gives me time to assess the work and change it as it is needed.

There are four main area that have variations; the blade profile (flat, dagger, round) the pivot area (straight, waisted), the shank shape (thigh, bandy) and the interaction between the shanks and the bows (blended, dramatic).

Each pair is numbered in the 'under' between the blades. “matching marks (symbols or numbers) are sometimes seen near the pivot area inside both blades. In Sheffield, these were hardened and ground together. In some cases these marks indicated that the two blades were forged together from the same piece of steel to ensure that both were of the same hardness. This coding enabled them to be matched together after they were tempered, ground and polished. If one blade was even slightly harder than the other, it would wear down and blunt the softer blade.” The Cutting Edge – Antique Scissors, Carolyn Meacham 2006

These days, with increased control over the alloy content of steel and the precisely controlled industrial heat treatment of the parts, this matching isn't the issue that it once was. Obviously, given the complexity of having every item in batch being different, numbering the halves was vital in this project.

'V1' Scissors - 4/15

2016

  • Shape - craft
  • Blade material BS EN10083 C50E
more...

At the end of 2015, when I was down at Ernest Wright & Son (Sheffield), talking to the scissor makers and picking their brains, I came across a small number of obsolete vintage scissor blanks. Not enough to justify them setting up to make them, I took some to play with. People have been asking for me to make more general purpose scissors and by starting with the rough blanks, I have been able to rescue some abandoned Sheffield heritage and produce 'working' scissors rather than fancy exhibition pieces.

One of the aspects of the project was to see how differently the pieces could be from the same initial shape. The way that the flat profile is shaped can dramatically change the feel of the finished piece. It is easy to see in Victorian catalogues that variations at this stage were used to create an entire range, from basic working pieces to highly carved ornate ones – all filed and ground from the same blank shape. I do most of this work with files. I like being able to take my time and see the shape develop under my fingers. It gives me time to assess the work and change it as it is needed.

There are four main area that have variations; the blade profile (flat, dagger, round) the pivot area (straight, waisted), the shank shape (thigh, bandy) and the interaction between the shanks and the bows (blended, dramatic).

Each pair is numbered in the 'under' between the blades. “matching marks (symbols or numbers) are sometimes seen near the pivot area inside both blades. In Sheffield, these were hardened and ground together. In some cases these marks indicated that the two blades were forged together from the same piece of steel to ensure that both were of the same hardness. This coding enabled them to be matched together after they were tempered, ground and polished. If one blade was even slightly harder than the other, it would wear down and blunt the softer blade.” The Cutting Edge – Antique Scissors, Carolyn Meacham 2006

These days, with increased control over the alloy content of steel and the precisely controlled industrial heat treatment of the parts, this matching isn't the issue that it once was. Obviously, given the complexity of having every item in batch being different, numbering the halves was vital in this project.

'V1' Scissors - 2/15

2016

  • Shape - craft
  • Blade material BS EN10083 C50E
more...

At the end of 2015, when I was down at Ernest Wright & Son (Sheffield), talking to the scissor makers and picking their brains, I came across a small number of obsolete vintage scissor blanks. Not enough to justify them setting up to make them, I took some to play with. People have been asking for me to make more general purpose scissors and by starting with the rough blanks, I have been able to rescue some abandoned Sheffield heritage and produce 'working' scissors rather than fancy exhibition pieces.

One of the aspects of the project was to see how differently the pieces could be from the same initial shape. The way that the flat profile is shaped can dramatically change the feel of the finished piece. It is easy to see in Victorian catalogues that variations at this stage were used to create an entire range, from basic working pieces to highly carved ornate ones – all filed and ground from the same blank shape. I do most of this work with files. I like being able to take my time and see the shape develop under my fingers. It gives me time to assess the work and change it as it is needed.

There are four main area that have variations; the blade profile (flat, dagger, round) the pivot area (straight, waisted), the shank shape (thigh, bandy) and the interaction between the shanks and the bows (blended, dramatic).

Each pair is numbered in the 'under' between the blades. “matching marks (symbols or numbers) are sometimes seen near the pivot area inside both blades. In Sheffield, these were hardened and ground together. In some cases these marks indicated that the two blades were forged together from the same piece of steel to ensure that both were of the same hardness. This coding enabled them to be matched together after they were tempered, ground and polished. If one blade was even slightly harder than the other, it would wear down and blunt the softer blade.” The Cutting Edge – Antique Scissors, Carolyn Meacham 2006

These days, with increased control over the alloy content of steel and the precisely controlled industrial heat treatment of the parts, this matching isn't the issue that it once was. Obviously, given the complexity of having every item in batch being different, numbering the halves was vital in this project.

Twisted Seamstress

2015

  • Shape - craft
  • Blade material 15N20 & CS70 damascus Steel with BS1407 blades
more...

Damascus steel by Mick Maxen Forged by Josh Burrell Fettled and finished by Grace Horne

With social and economic upheaval during the Victorian age in Britain, an increasing number of gentlewomen were required to seek work. Their upbringing meant that their choices of occupation were limited; becoming a governess was often considered desirable and, as sewing was taught to all girls, becoming a seamstress or milliner was also popular. However, census data revealed that there was a disproportionately large number of women claiming their profession as seamstresses while actually plying their trade around dubious urban areas late at night. As the carrying of weapons was illegal but carrying 'tools of the trade' was acceptable, an urban myth developed regarding prostitutes carrying scissor-daggers. However there is little evidence of these being popular or even existing during this period.

'Twisted Seamstress' is my version of a pair of scissors that a fallen gentlewoman might carry, whilst frequenting disreputable parts of town late at night...

Silk scissors

2014

  • Shape - craft
  • Blade material sliver steel & wrought iron
more...

This pair of scissors was the first that was made in collaboration with Joshua Burrell. I contacted Josh at the beginning of 2014 to see if he was interested in working with me on hand forged scissors and this was our first attempt at working together; he forged them and I fettled and finished them.

The shears are ground very thin and springy along their length and the edges are sharpened specifically for fine cutting of material such as linings and fine silks.

The main body of the scissors are forged from wrought iron with a forge welded blade of tool steel. They have been etched to show the flow of the forging and a small bud was carved from the iron which was left unetched.

Embroidery Scissors 4

2013

  • Shape - craft
  • Blade material Damasteel Munin
more...

These scissors were the second small batch of scissors that I made after a secondment at Ernest Wright & Sons, Sheffield in 2013. The first batch used their blanks but this group were entirely made by me. I used two types of steel; a stainless damascus steel from Damasteel and damascus steel handmade by Ed Schempp. Three sets used an identical profile; 3 of 4 was slightly shorter than the others because of the piece of material that I used. I realised that the way they were finished, the shaping of the shanks and the bows, the filing of the sections, subtly changed the feel of the finished scissors so each are different.

I was interested in learning to make scissors to put into my knives but I got sidetracked by the wonder of scissors in their own right. Learning their subtleties and beauty was a real pleasure.

Thread Scissors 1

2013

  • Shape - craft
  • Blade material carbon steel
more...

These scissors were part of a small batch that I made after a secondment at Ernest Wright & Sons, Sheffield in 2013. I used their rough drop forged blanks to work on and finish in my own workshop. They were all identical blanks but I realised that the way they were finished, the shaping of the shanks and the bows, the filing of the sections, changed the feel of the finished scissors hugely so I played with seeing how different I could make them.

I was interested in learning to make scissors to put into my knives but I got sidetracked by the wonder of scissors in their own right. Learning their subtleties and beauty was a real pleasure.